How to Get Press for Your Startup
Nobody said getting press was easy. If it were easy, every startup would be scoring TechCrunch write-ups.
I’ve experimented with a number of different PR strategies over the years, and (after much trial and error) was able to land coverage in Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, PandoDaily and more.
But it didn’t come easily, and because each business and publication is different, there is no magic formula—but I can say that I’ve picked up some valuable lessons along the way.
If you want to know how to get press coverage for your startup, check out this list of what I’ve learned:
Keep it brief
When pitching a journalist by email, it is incredibly important to keep your email brief, succinct, and to-the-point. I know that it can be SO TEMPTING to go on and on about your startup, but the fact is that many writers simply don’t have the time to read a 1,000 word email from a stranger.
And don’t forget that’s what you are: Yep, a stranger. A stranger with a cool startup.
Believe it or not, many journalists in the tech space get hundreds of emails a day. If they go so far as to open your email, consider yourself lucky. But once they’ve opened that email, it’s vital that you keep their attention while also showing respect for their time.
Find the right journalist
Before you even think about what your email will say, you’ve gotta figure out who you’re pitching.
This is important.
Writers get inundated with irrelevant, totally random pitches everyday. A writer who covers stories in the healthcare industry is not going to appreciate a pitch about a music startup.
It’s super simple to avoid this seemingly rookie mistake. Just dig around a bit and research a writer before sending off an email. Check out other articles they’ve written to get a feel for their tone, focus and style.
Keep your email relevant
Before drafting your pitch email, ponder these questions:
- Who are you and what problem is your startup solving?
- Why are you pitching this journalist—in what ways is your story news-worthy? (This is more of a sanity check. Many writers will only cover a startup if they have big news like a launch, funding, or an acquisition.)
- Why is this relevant to the publication’s audience?
After you’ve asked yourself these questions, it’s time to start writing your email. You should find a way to answer all of the above questions in just a few sentences.
Really. Most of the time, people won’t read past the first few lines.
I recently helped someone craft an email about their app. They were ready for some major coverage, so I recommended they send out this email:
Guess what? Their app was featured in TechCrunch.
And hopefully your email will be even shorter than this one.
In other words, your email should contain your “elevator pitch.” It should be simple and easy to digest. Do everything you can to avoid going into unnecessary detail. I know it’s tough, but it’s a good exercise and will actually help you explain your product to people IRL as well.
Since you’ve made it this far, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out Austen Allred’s guide to getting press.